Looking Back, Moving Forward: David Price

By Robbie Knopf

After a Cy Young season in 2012, everyone in baseball had to wonder what David Price would do for an encore. After his Cy Young runner-up season in 2010, Price fell back to earth, delivering a good season but not a great one as he went 12-13 with a 3.49 ERA. Everyone was in agreement that Price was an excellent pitcher, but was he one of the best five or ten pitchers in baseball or was he a talented pitcher but one whose dominance was more inconsistent? The beginning of 2013 saw Price’s career reach its lowest point since his rookie year in 2009. But then Price reminded everyone just how good he is.

It was crisis time. David Price was struggling, his velocity was down, and then he went on the disabled with what was described as a triceps injury. The hottest trade commodity in baseball suddenly saw everything surround him go into question. Would he recover? Would his trade value ever be the same? Was Price going to turn into an injury-prone pitcher who the Rays would be stuck paying dozens of millions of dollars to the next three years? As it turned out, though, Rays fans were doing what they have done on many an occasion: gotten ahead of themselves in predicting doom.

In his first 11 starts off the DL, Price went 7-1 with a 1.97 ERA, striking out 62 while walking just 6 in 82.1 innings pitched. He struggled a bit more after that, but struggling for David Price meant a 3.47 ERA with 40 strikeouts against just 7 walks in 49.2 innings pitched. And of course, Price finished the regular season with a complete game victory over the Texas Rangers to send the Rays to the AL Wild Game. Price’s season ended on a sad note as he got hit hard in ALDS Game 2 and was left warming up in the bullpen in Game 4, but overall, he rebounded for a terrible start to have another tremendous season. Despite making just 27 starts, Price threw 186.2 innings, just under 7 innings a start. The injury is disconcerting, but the durability he showed the rest of the season assuages some of the concerns. Price enters the offseason right where he belongs among the top pitchers in baseball. The question is what is going to happen next year.

Price will generate plenty of interest on the trade market as teams see the opportunity to acquire a true ace and possibly sign him to a long term extension. The cost will be steep, but you have to expect that some team will pay it. The fact that Price is likely to depart is agonizing for Rays fans, but the saving grace is that they know the Rays will not deal David Price unless they know they are getting a multiplicity of talent in return. James Shields netted the Rays Wil Myers, Jake Odorizzi, and more. Price will net them even more. Get ready for a crazy offseason as we figure out where Price will end up.